Politkovskaya murder trial opens in Moscow
A Russian military court opened the trial Wednesday of three men charged with the murder of investigative journalist Anna Politkovskaya, gunned down in front of her Moscow flat in 2006, reported dpa.
Police officer Sergei Khadzhikurbanov and two Chechen brothers, Dzhabrail and Ibragim Makhmudov, stand accused of plotting the murder.
Investigators are hunting for a third Chechen man, Rustam Makhmudov, suspected of being the pointman in the contract killing.
Politkovskaya, an award-winning reporter for the Novaya Gazeta, was a fierce critic of the Kremlin's actions during two wars in Chechnya in the early 1990s.
The court was expected to rule on whether the media and public will be allowed access to the trial, being held before a military tribunal because of the involvement of a former police officer.
Politkovskaya's son Ilya said the case "was far from solved," news agency Interfax reported on Wednesday. Outside the court Wednesday, he said "only a small part of the people involved" were on trial.
"I hope that the principal people guilty of the crime, will be found," he added.
Politkovskaya's family lawyers said the accused police officer was was only loosely tied to the case, while the other suspects did not deserve to be tried in a military court.
Lawyer Anna Stavitskaya said she would push for a delay of the hearing after the main lawyer representing Politkovskaya, Karina Moskalenko, was poisoned by mercury in her car in Strasbourg, France.
Speaking from a hospital where she was being treated in France, Moskalenko told Russian radio station Ekho Moskvy she thought her poisoning was a threat to quit the case.
"People don't put mercury in your car to wish you good health," she said. Strasbourg police have opened an investigation into the case.
Politkovskaya's killing sent shock ripples through the world media, and Kremlin critics said it revealed a crackdown on media freedom under former President Vladimir Putin.
The lack of progress in the murder investigation by the second anniversary of her murder on October 7 was seen by some human rights activists as a sign the Kremlin was trying to throw a cloak over the investigation.
Dmitry Murat, editor-and-chief at Politkovskaya's former newspaper Novaya Gazeta, on Wednesday called the investigation "strange and inconsistent," saying the murderer was still at liberty.